The first round of the playoffs is about to wrap up with a few eliminations last night and a few more expected tonight (sorry Habs, no faith in you). The talk of the week has been the Edmonton Oilers which included news from Wayne Gretzky, Ethan Bear and of course Connor McDavid. We’ll dive into more details on all of all the Oilers talk and some more in this week’s edition of the Thursday Links, News and Notes.
- The moment the handshakes between the Edmonton Oilers and the Winnipeg Jets ended, rumours of McDavid’s future went wild. It is normal to question the direction of the Oilers going forward, but McDavid? I don’t think he’s going anywhere. It’s not fun being the best player in the league but not seeing the success when it matters the most, but Alexander Ovechkin had to wait 13 seasons before tasting the glory of the Cup. The sweep is concerning but in the grand scheme of things, the Oilers are an extremely talented young team with tons of time to figure it all out. As for how Connor McDavid feels about the team, rest assured Oilers fans because according to him he has yet another level to tap in and he wants to reach it with the Edmonton Oilers.
- Connor McDavid may be staying a while in Edmonton but one of his idols is moving to greener pastures. Wayne Gretzky announced on Tuesday that he was stepping away from his role with the Edmonton Oilers to join the broadcasting world with a deal to cover a few regular season games as well as playoff hockey on Turner Sports. Gretzky seems to want to delve into every area of the sport and it’ll be interesting to see what he has to offer in his new role.
- More Oilers news; it isn’t shocking but still very disturbing and saddening that Ethan Bear has had to deal with racist messages targeting his Indigenous background. With all the awareness we are exposed to and the countless initiatives, the hockey world continues to struggle with its dealings with diversity in the league. Bear released the following statement on Wednesday in hopes to encourage other people of colour to feel safe in this sport. It’s maddening that he even had to go out and say that he is proud of who he is because being comfortable with our own diversity and our own backgrounds should be a privilege we are all entitled to.
"I'm here to stand up to this behaviour... I'm proud of where I come from. I'm proud to be from Ochapowace First Nation. I'm not just doing this for myself. I'm doing this for all people of colour & for the next generation."— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) May 26, 2021
Ethan Bear's statement in response to racist comments. pic.twitter.com/3CK6DENnHC
- More discrimination and more empty apologies. Ron MacLean is “deeply sorry” about a comment that was considered homophobic by many. He of course came out with the usual “I didn’t mean to say that” and all the usual excuses we’ve heard countless times before. Again, this league has a long way to go in terms of inclusion and while tons has been done, it is evidently not enough. Whether he intended wrong doing or not, as a seasoned veteran in the business and guy who worked for years alongside the controversial Don Cherry, MacLean should know better.
- Some Sens news for the grand finale as new fan favourite Egor Sokolov has been named to the 2020-2021 AHL Canadian Division all star team.
Sokolov seemed to have win the hearts of Sens fans the day he was drafted and his arrival in Belleville just seemed to skyrocket his stock. In 35 games this season, he has scored 25 points (15G, 10A) and has proven that he ready for the big show in the very near future.